Reactions to His Miracles
By J. L. Leifeste
“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled...” (Jn. 12:37-38).
So many people witnessed the miracles of Jesus that the miracles could not be refuted when the New Testament was written. Since those people could not deny His miracles, we cannot justify a refutation of them today. The fact that Jesus performed miracles is very important. His miracles are proof that He is the Messiah, the Christ (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:18-19; Jn. 1:41), that He is the Son of God (Matt. 3:17; Lk. 1:35), and that His word is truth (Heb. 1:1-2; Jn. 5:36; 10:25, 37-38; 20:30-31). The purpose of His miracles was to assure everyone — those people who lived during His time upon the earth, and us today. Everyone can know that Jesus is the Son of God, and the Savior of all who obey His gospel (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Jn. 8:31-32; 12:48-50).
Jesus’ earthly ministry took Him through Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Phoenicia, Decapolis, and Perea. As He traveled, Jesus taught the truth and performed miracles. Great multitudes of people heard His words and witnessed His miracles. Other people did not. Some people believed on Him and followed Him (Jn. 2:11; 3:2; 10:41-42). Others did not (Jn. 10:24-27).
The miracles of Jesus showed supernatural power (Matt. 8:16, 23-27; 9:6-8). Some people who witnessed His miracles, or the effects of them, feared the power because they could not fully understand it (Lk. 5:1-10; 8:25, 27-37). But He used His power to reveal God’s message of love for all people. So there was no reason to fear that power (see Jn. 10:19-21). We have no need to fear His power when it is for our salvation (Eph. 1:22; 5:23).
Some people accused Him of working for Satan (Matt. 9:34; Jn. 10:20-21). But His miracles and teachings were righteous and beneficial to mankind (Matt. 5:1-48; Lk. 11:27-28; Acts 10:38).
Other people recognized that He had authority from God (Matt. 7:28-29; Jn. 7:31-46). The righteousness of His words and actions convinced His disciples that He was from God (Matt. 16:16). His miracles worked against Satan. Even the evil spirits acknowledged that He was the Son of God and was working against them (Matt. 8:28-29). Jesus said, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?...But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:26, 28).
Some people probably did not take the time or effort to go see the works of Jesus and hear His teaching. Others heard His words and saw His miracles, yet remained more interested in worldly matters and did not follow Him (Matt. 8:19-22; 19:16-22). Neither of these situations provides a valid excuse for rejecting Christ. Ignorance of the truth will not free anyone of the penalty for his or her sins (see Rom. 10:1-3; Lk. 12:48). Obviously, the best choice for people of that day was to make the effort to see and hear Jesus (Jn. 4:42).
Some people, whether or not they witnessed Jesus’ miracles, worried about the opinion of others. Some of them avoided associating with Jesus and His disciples because they did not want others to think of them as His followers (Jn. 12:37-43). The apostles witnessed many more miracles than those we find in the gospel accounts (Jn. 20:30-31). They knew that Jesus was the Son of God and the Savior of mankind (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Jn. 6:68; Acts 2:14-36). Yet, during Jesus’ trials, Peter denied being a follower of Jesus (Matt. 26:33-35, 56-75). Evidently, he did so from fear. He later repented and was forgiven.
Other people heard of Jesus’ works and teaching and simply refused to believe (Jn. 7:31-32). Some of them witnessed His words and miracles. Yet, they still stood against Him (Matt. 13:13-15). These were very stubborn people. They had decided to reject Jesus. No matter what miracles He performed to prove the truth that He taught, they would not change their minds.
People who rejected Jesus became His enemies. Some people who saw His miracles reported them to His enemies. The enemies could have chosen to go see Him and His work for themselves. They could not deny that He had worked miracles, yet they refused to believe in Him (see Jn. 5:16; 9:18, 26; 11:47). Certain Jewish leaders attempted to discredit or stop Him (Lk. 6:6-11; 13:10-17; 20:1-47; Jn. 5:1-16). Eventually, God allowed them to arrange the crucifixion of Jesus.
These people were comfortable with their old beliefs. The truth from the Father through Jesus would change their lives. This angered many of them, and they reacted with hate. Sadly, Jesus knew that many people would reject Him and their own salvation (Matt. 7:13-14; 22:1-14; 23:37).
Perhaps the saddest aspect concerning those who rejected Jesus is the fact that they had such a great opportunity to believe in Him. He is the only way of salvation (Jn. 6:63; 14:6; Acts 4:12). They could actually hear Him teach and see Him work miracles. They also could examine the Old Testament prophecies to help them know that Jesus is the Christ (Jn. 5:39, 45-47; Acts 28:23). But many still rejected Him.
We, too, have the Old Testament prophecies which verify that Jesus is the Christ. But we have even more — the New Testament record of His life, His teachings, His miracles, and testimony of many witnesses. There is no need for further miracles or a new gospel to prove Jesus is the Christ. Reliable men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote those books (Lk. 12:12; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). They explain what His sacrifice means to us, what the gospel is, and how we must obey it.
We must give time and effort to study about Jesus (Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:11; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 2:15). We must not let the interests of this life keep us from obeying Him (Rom. 1:16; Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:9-10; Mk. 16:16). We must not let a fear of others keep us from Christ (Isa. 12:2; Matt. 10:26-28; Phil. 1:28). We, like the people of old, have no excuse for denying Jesus. We should follow Him in the same way the New Testament Christians were commanded to obey Him.
Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. (6) Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. (7) And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. (8) But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold…(11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (12) Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (13) But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. (14) Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. (15) But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Lk. 8:5-8, 11-15).